The Surprising Reason Why Men Don’t Prioritize Their Health – and How You Can Help
Why Men Don’t Prioritize Their Health
This year, the Cleveland Clinic’s 4th annual MENtion It® awareness campaign sought out to shed light on why men don’t prioritize their health – oftentimes going to extremes to avoid seeing a doctor.
According to the 1,174 men 18 years old and older living throughout the US surveyed, 65% of them tended to wait as long as possible to see their doctor if they have any health problems or injury. In fact, a whopping 77 percent of men who are married or in a domestic partnership would rather go shopping with their wife or significant other than go to the doctor!
Even if men do go to a doctor, some will hold back information – with 20% of men admitting they have not been completely honest with their doctor. What keeps them from being completely forthcoming? For most, it is because they are embarrassed (46%), feel uncomfortable (40%) or they don’t want to be told that they need to change their diet or lifestyle (36%).
And, some men may be scared of what they might find out – with 37% of those surveyed admitting they withheld information because, while they knew something was wrong – they were not ready to face the diagnosis and wanted to stay in the dark about any potential health issues.
“Men tend to be stubborn about a lot of things, with taking care of their health usually near the top of the list,” said Eric Klein, M.D., chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute. “Our hope with this campaign is that by shedding a little light on what barriers are keeping men from engaging in preventative care, we can then work to motivate them to take their health more seriously.”
Why are men like this? And more importantly, what can loved ones and caretakers do to help? I talked to Dr. Brad Gill, Urologist in the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute at Cleveland Clinic about more of the survey findings and advice and resources loved ones can use to help men break down the personal barriers they put up to avoid seeing a doctor.
Take a look below.
Regular health screenings are the number one secret to a longer, healthier life for men. Spouses, significant others, and caretakers can play a key role in making sure such screenings are up-to-date. Below is a helpful printable men’s health chart to download for use.
In addition to regular visits to the doctor’s office, here are a few more steps men can take to change their personal habits in the interest of preventive health:
- Stick to a healthy diet— Low in salt and fat, and high in fiber with an emphasis on cooking with color by using lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid tobacco—Being tobacco-free is imperative in any preventive health program.
- Limit your consumption of alcohol and caffeine—Alcohol consumption should be limited to no more than two ounces of liquor or the equivalent daily.
- Strive to maintain ideal body weight.
- Take time to exercise— Generally, 30 to 40 minutes of a sustained exercise activity, three to five days per week is the goal for most adults.
- Wear a seat belt— This includes taxis and back seats. Injury and death from auto accidents are common causes of disability and death in adults.
- Have regular eye and dental examinations—Regular eye exams are one of the best ways to safeguard eye health. Additionally, many health conditions that affect the entire body produce warning signs that can appear in and around the area of the mouth.
- Keep socially and intellectually engaged – Meet with friends in person, read books, participate in activities that challenge the mind.
- Wear sunscreen—Avoiding prolonged sun exposure and using sunscreen can reduce the risk of skin cancer.
- Be safety-conscious— Think about the safety aspects of all daily activities.
Meet Our Guest:
Brad Gill, MD, is a urologist in the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute at Cleveland Clinic and is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University. He also attended medical school at Case Western Reserve University and completed his residency at Cleveland Clinic.